Beer Thief Steals 12-Pack -- Before Getting Shot Several Times By Mini-Mart Clerk

lafonte.jpg
Yavapai County Sheriff's Office
Scott LaFonte was shot several times after attempting to steal a 12-pack of beer from a convenience store last night.
If you plan to steal beer from Mike's Mini Market in Prescott, you better bring a gun -- there's a chance you'll get shot.

Scott LaFonte, 35, learned that lesson the hard way -- he only brought a knife when he attempted to steal a 12-pack of beer last night, and was subsequently shot "several times" by the clerk.

We spoke to Prescott Lieutenant Andy Reinhardt this afternoon. He says the investigation into the shooting is still in the early stages, but gives New Times the following account:

About 7 p.m. yesterday, LaFonte entered the convenience store, flashed a knife at the clerk, Michael Lewis, stole a pack of cigarettes, stole a 12-pack of beer, and tried to leave.

Lewis, however, wasn't havin' it; he followed LaFonte out of the store -- gun in hand.

The two men confronted each other at the east end of the store's property, and Lewis shot LaFonte "several times."

LaFonte survived the shooting -- he was taken to the Flagstaff Medical Center, where he underwent surgery and is expected to survive.

Reinhardt says neither of the men have been charged with any crimes -- yet.

He says detectives are in the process of reviewing surveillance footage to determine whether the shooting was self defense. Although, he says, Lewis could potentially be charged with a crime.

LaFonte remains in the hospital. He will likely face charges when he's released, Reinhardt says.
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51 comments
charlie_oscar
charlie_oscar

flashed a knife at the clerk -

Case closed....next

Adam
Adam

He was asking for it.  He earned every wound he was given...The clerk did the right thing.

guest
guest

Can't believe all the bleeding hearts here who want to justify the actions of a thief. The guy deserved to e shot, he was a thief, whether he was stealing cigarettes and beer or 10 grand, and he deserved to be shot. The problem with our society is the coddling of criminals, he got what he fricken' deserved, nothing more, nothing less. Break into my house, threaten me with a knife, and I'll shoot you too....nothing more, nothing less. 

anonymous
anonymous

Oh it is "severe dumbfuckery" to react and chase a criminal that just robbed you and attempt to shoot them to prevent their escape? You are not living in reality or are esconsed in some nice condo in scottsdale probably. You obviously do not know what it is like to be robbed or assaulted and therefore realize that the reaction to chase someone who just commited a crime against you and shoot them to prevent their escape is normal and that there isn't a lot of time to consider the ramications of your actions. I doubt you have such experience under your belt and thus are talking out your ass.

Acoleman21
Acoleman21

He will likely face charges?  Regardless of whether he got shot, he still committed a crime...is this really in question? 

anonymous
anonymous

I hope so and the sad thing is he will most likely commit more crimes in the future. Society would be better off if the clerk would have shot the criminal dead.

Goodjob
Goodjob

Time for scott laloser to get a job and stop stealing from people, good thing an old lady wasn't walking down the street or he would have robbed her too.

Goodjob
Goodjob

James King you are a fool for the title, of course we all can see you would prefer everyone is a victim of criminals. Just wait one day someone will rob your house, steal from you, i would suggest you just help them load up  everything you have and wait until them come back because they may need more help.

Sick of scum
Sick of scum

Good shooting, you don't have anything to worry about unless your some crack head thief, time to stand up to the bleeding heart liberals that let people like this run the streets, bet the author would have a different opinion if this scum broke into his house and found his way into his kids bedroom.

it is people standing up for the scum that will bring this country down, stand up for the hard working american.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Flawed logic. I would feel differently if YOU broke into my home and threatened me or my family. If you left me no choice, I would end your ass right there.

But that is not an argument for chasing you down and ending you now, is it? Because you didn't do that. And neither did the beer thief. He wasn't breaking into a child's bedroom, and there's no reason to believe that he ever did, or would. He stole maybe twenty bucks worth of shit from a convenience store and was fleeing when this guy chased him down and shot him.

Save your Travis Bickle imitation for someone who cares.

anonymous
anonymous

LaFonte created a violent situation when he brandished a knife in the store, no different than someone braking in and brandishing a knife in yoyr front room to steal your purse and wallet. If he got cigarettes he had to go behind the counter or threaten the clerk in a fasion wherein he was enough danger to hand him smokes that were above or behind him. In either situation seconds occurs when the criminal runs out the door, you give chase and realize he is getting away and instinctually shoot as you don't want him to get away. There is no time to consider if what you are doing is legal or not, it is a natural response to not want to get ripped off and give chase to someone ripping you off. I had the same response when I was 22, hadn't been in a fight since grade school and caught a gangbanger ripping me off, my initial instinct was to yell and give chase when he ran, lucky for him I didn't have a gun or I would have hsot him to stop him but I only had my fists which I beat him with. So I should be charged for physical assault because this criminal stole something from me? Ridiculous and to not make criminals pay only encourages them plain and simple.

anonymous
anonymous

Ultimately there is little difference as if someone uses physical threats with a weapon and gets outside your house or store is it better to not shoot and let them get away to do it again or to shoot and possibly stop them from ever doing it again?

In any criminal.situation anything can happen and go wrong as you are dealing with people that are not in their right mind. If it is a degree of harm or value, if someone broke into your house with only the intent of peeping on your or your children without you or their knowledge but was caught and ran outside, you would just let them go even when you had a clear shot from your doorway and knew you couldn't run fast enough to catch them? The simple fact is that a criminal has no right to violate my space, life or property and if a criminal does than they are responsible for any outcome that arises out of it even if it means they vare shot and killed over stealing something cheap. They shouldn't have done it i n the first place and only did it because the odds were in their favor that they could get away with it and people with your mindset only help solidify this mindset in criminals. Untill robbery is not worth the risks no matter what it will continue. If I knew the justice system had no flaws I would be all for a hand for a hand, or an eye for an eye, and such but the justice system is all f*cked and innocent people are put to death, imprisoned, fined, etc. So the only way to deter such acts is to make it ok to shoot criminals committing violent acts. Unless you have a better idea of reducing violent crime as nothing in place now is working.

anonymous
anonymous

I don't see the situation as really having anything to do with being liberal or not. For me it comes down to how one instinctually acts after ones life is threatened and if someone has their life threatened by a criminal if they should suffer more than they already have for the actions that the criminal precipitated. If a criminal doesn't realize he is taking his life into his own hands by robbing someone than he deserves whatever he gets plain and simple. If anyone threatened your mother, sister or child in this fashion your instinct would most likely be that you want to kill the person doing such harm against someone and if your loved one reacted unlike these wimpy pro-criminal posters and chased the criminal down and emptied a clip into them, I would completely understand. But once again I have been assaulted, kidnapped, and threatened with shotguns to my head and the police never caught the assalilants and actuallty never seemed to put much effort into doing so because I lived on the wrong side of the tracks here in Phoenix.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"But once again I have been assaulted, kidnapped, and threatened with shotguns to my head and the police never caught the assalilants"

OK, there it is. Please get counseling to help you deal with this before you lose your shit and do something really tragically stupid. You're obviously not over it, you understandably wish you could have pulled the trigger on whoever did this to you, but they aren't around any more and shooting somebody else won't make it better.

Seriously.

anonymous
anonymous

Oh yeah, why don't you pony up some cash to pay for it since victims rights money goes to those that are seriously injured during crimes. Besides I am fine except when it comes to criminals violating me or my loved ones and the only people that have to worry are the ones that carry weapons and brandish them to commit criminal acts. If law enforcement, the justice and prison system actually worked than my brand of justice wouldn't be necessary but alas the present manner of prison for profit with politicians and corporations making money of how many prisoners there are and no real rehabilitation in prison, and corrupt sheriffs like Arpaio, and criminals getting away with crime on a daily basis, you still think it is best to just sit back and let those that screwed everything up in the first place to fix it and protect us. LaFonte is going to be sent to prison and probably become more desensitized and more sociopathic and never given the opportunity to get out of the whole because he will never be able to get a decent job with a felony on his record. After someone you love is killed by someone like this you will probably cry your wimpy approach to dealing with criminals. Criminals just love people that think like you... it makes their jobs easier since if you are a violent thief you know there is a law that the clerk will not shoot you so what do you have to lose when you just have to have a good escape route and be faster than the clerk getting out the door and get away before the police with abhorent response times show up. Putting the clerk in jail encourages criminals and if you don't think so than you have no clue as to how they think or their thought processes.

Mistalee
Mistalee

In the old days in Detroit, we had a saying - "Only an asshole brings a knife to a gunfight." This story illustrates the point pretty well.

I would add that the guy who chases someone down and empties a clip in them over a 12 pack and smokes is an even bigger asshole. This was attempted murder. I hope he gets charged.

anonymous
anonymous

It sounds like you have never been violently attacked, kidnapped or threatened in a very real situation where your death is a possible outcome. Until you have you have no idea how you would react and I know having experienced all the above that I reacted without thinking not as a conscious choice but out of pure survival instinct and if that survival instinct tells me to kill someone that has threatened me in a manner where I could lose my life then the criminal deserves what he gets because he started the chain reaction that lead to his being shot. Also, people do not consider the fear that people live under when criminals like this so often get away with a slap on the wrist and the victim has to worry about retribution for the rest of their lives... this type of information lays in the back of my brain and could very well lead to me chasing down and removing the threat to my life without any moral conscious thought whatsoever and having been there I know how real this type of thinking is. How about if someone rapes you and you chase them outside the house and shoot them in the back... sounds like a completely different situation but the mental dynamics are practically the same, a violation of your personal well being. That being said if I eneded up in jail because of people like you, you can bet when I got out I would be hunting you down and gunning for your ass and maybe afterwards you would finally open your ignorant perception of instinct, survival and threats affect people and how their reaction may appear premeditated but in all actuality it is not.

Mistalee
Mistalee

OK, this guy was not attacked or kidnapped. The beer thief "flashed a knife at him." That's it. Didn't cut him, didn't TRY to cut him. His life was not in danger. His life was not threatened.

And it sounds like you assume a lot.

I've had a pistol pulled on me, had a knife put to my throat, faced a mugger armed with a baseball bat. Just a few of the highlights. There's been more than one occasion that I was sure the remainder of my life was measured in minutes, maybe seconds.

I'm not a stranger to violence on the street.

So let me repeat, the clerk chasing this guy and gunning him down was unneccessary, cowardly, and a plain and simple act of attempted murder. The clerk's life was not in danger, he was not harmed in any way, it wasn't even his fucking beer and ciggies. And he knew he couldn't lose, he had a pistol, the other guy had a knife. Cowardly.

He should be charged, and if the facts warrant, he should be convicted of ADW or attempted murder.

Sounds like you have some major issues with fear and stress. PTSD? Need counseling? If you do, don't try to be a hardass, get counseling, and soon. If you're walking around with the feelings you describe, you're not enjoying life, and you are in danger of doing something tragically stupid. I'm not saying this to dis you, I'm hoping your life gets better.

Goodjob
Goodjob

that figures why you have so much feeling for the criminal and 35 years old is no longer youth

Googjob
Googjob

you are just a fool to think a knife isn't a dangerous lifethreatining weapon.

The other thing you do not have is facts, you don't know if he flashed a knife or if the owner and his wife were threatend, it is armed robery not a beer run.

hence the term armed, but in your liberal thinking a knife is harmless.

it was armed robery look up the law, if you have a baseball bat, knife, gun or anyother weapon it is armed robbery.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"I kow how criminals think, as I was one in my youth"

Thats funny, because by your own logic somebody should have capped your ass back then in the interest of protecting society.

anonymous
anonymous

Heh, you sound someone that has no prob lem rolling over for criminals and letting them take advantage of you.

He is not a coward for using force to stop a man from committing a crime wherein his life could be put at risk and to let him go would allow him another chance to do it again. If the laws and cops can't protect me or prevent such crimes than I will do so my self.

What if a child was in the store and traumatized by the event? More goes on to affect people than just some missing beer and smokes and if a criminal is too stupid to stop and gets shot or if the clerk shoots the criminal in the heat of the moment than he shouldn't be charged. It is ridiculous that you try to paint anyone that would chase a thief who brandished a weapon and shoot them to stop them is a coward esp since they didn't choose to be in that situation in the first place. IMHO, the guy has balls to do what he did. I find it cowardly to do nothing and let the guy away to continue on a life of crime that may one day lead to someones death, which if the criminal ends up in jail or prison he will be primed for recidivism and a rentry into a life of crime when he is returned to the streets. I kow how criminals think, as I was one in my youth, and it is suckers like you that keep the whole criminal world alive and thriving. If someone violates someone else and the victim doesn't have any say in how or if they want to be violated than a criminal doesn't get any say in how violent or deadly a victims reaction is. It has nothing to do with being a coward but being sick of laws that don't work, a society and jail/prison systems that breeds such individuals and a sense of powerlessness that people victimized by these criminals feel when leaving the court system and law enforcement to attempt to get justice. If LaFonte wasn't shot, he probably would have run off and comitted another crime another day since he has already shown a propensity for such behavior, and now he will be put in prison and learn new skills and information and contacts to become a better criminal. The odds that he will hurt someone seriously in the future are higher than the odds that he will be rehabilited, so in the end it is better off if the clerk would have shot and killed LaFonte and that takes balls to do but as I have said previously there is no time to even think about such things in a situation like a robbery that happense very fast and quick and ones reaction is just what it is and most likely has nothing to do with what someone might believe/think/subscribe to morally/legally or otherwise previously. In situations like this you react and hope you don't get hurt.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

This is one of those cases where there is too little factual information provided to accurately form a reasonable opinion.

It may be that the clerk is well within his rights to have shot the guy, based on threats made during the commission of the robbery of the beer and cigarettes, and then afterward as he was being pursued.

It may be that the clerk has no justification for following the suspect once he left the store and the guy did not have the motive, ability, or opportunity to make good on any injury with the knife on the clerk. That said, the shooting would not be justified.

Again, we can only guess at this point.

Mistalee
Mistalee

Here's the thing about a knife. If you're more than a few feet from the guy holding it, you're not going to get cut. Unlike a pistol, a knife has a severely limited range. So if you are in fear of your life, you get away, you don't chase the guy with the knife. "I was afraid he would cut me, so I chased him" doesn't wash.

IMO even if the clerk can technically claim some form of self-defense, he is guilty at the minimum of severe dumbfuckery. There was no need for gunplay over a twelve-pack of beer and a pack of smokes.

Goodjob
Goodjob

First of all you have no idea what you are talking about, if you have a holsterd gun and someone with a knife withing 15 ft the person with the knife will win every time, second why do police shoot people with knifes? because a a bulletproof vest is useless against a knife, hence the name bulletproof and not knife proof.

second of all if the theif threw the knife at you and missed he is now by law unarmed, so as long as he has the knife he IS a threat.

to hell with the criminals, they steal from hard working people. one 12 pack no big deal? multiply that by 2 times a day then by thirty then multiply that x 12.

that is about $12,960 dollars just in beer alone per year, could your business stand to give away that much, if so send me a check.

it is people like you who will gladly give away money, ill be the first in line that will becash, $12,960

THANK YOU VERY MUCH

yourproductsucks
yourproductsucks

A sensible post.  Well done.

Mistalee hates it when you do this.

anonymous
anonymous

I am not a republican except for desiring less govt. but if someone threatened my life then the best thing to do is take the offense and remove the threat, just like my Israeli martial arts trained me, two taps and make sure they are out (and no I am not Jewish.) I wouldn't want the guy coming back, wanting to kill me because I could give eyewitness testimony. I have had drug problems in my past and stole somethings many many years ago and felt then as I do now, that if I got caught and was shot or killed it was all my fault. Esp. Since this wasn't a crime of need as in he couldn't find a job so he needed to steal to feed his family or just himself, not that that should make it ok but if your are stealing for fun, booze or drugs or because you are simply too lazy to even try getting a job than I don't think you should be surprised if you get shot and even if this guy chased the thief out of the store and shot him, he helped prevent the same guy from doing it again the next night and the next and the next and somewhere in there someone innocent could possibly be stabbed. I know when I caught a guy stealing my car stereo, I didn't think about the situation, I just reacted and chased him down, not caring that he was twice my size, a gangbanger (his tats on his shirtless back gave him away) or that I could break my kneecap in a last ditch dive to catch him, which I did. If I was thinking I would have just let him have it and paid the $500 insurance deductible and had it replaced but since I just reacted I incurred a $13,500 medical bill and even with insurance it cost me out of pocket over $2,500. These thieves know the risk they take in this state and if I was sitting on the jury I would not convict the guy, as well I wouldn't say anything to the prosecuter during the jury selection process that would eliminate me. The justice system is broken so I will do whatever it takes to insure justice is done and there is no justice if the clerk goes to jail as he obviously reacted in the heat of the moment. I am sure some people will find my take on this primitive and barbaric but if you do the crime you do the time or risk getting shot and if they don't consider this going in than they are too stupid to have around anyway. My thoughts on this pertain to private citizens who are not trained to think before acting in a situation where your life is threatened over a robbery, police officers should be using tasers, bean bag loads before they start shooting felons without firearms. Perhaps convenience store employees should use such precautionary items as well.

And this is from a man who was a teenage anarchist who eventually cleaned up, grew up and who hasn't stuck to any one political platform in the last 20 years and believes that criminals should be responsible for their actions and the response to those actions esp if a innocent life has been threatened by a criminal. So that takes the air outta your self righteous balloon, ya dumbf*ck. It doesn't have anything to do with being a republican which are more like good little sheep for the rich and corporations. You steal from me, you risk getting shot and you better believe I will be acting like it was self defense whether it was or not, just for the cameras or anyone with a camera phone.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

Just thinking... but you might want to check with your insurance company. I don't think there is a deductible when you are the victim of a crime...

anonymous
anonymous

I have never heard of this and definitely was not aware of it 25 years ago.

yourproductsucks
yourproductsucks

"If you plan to steal beer from Mike's Mini Market in Prescott, you better bring a gun -"Probably the most ignorant opener ever.  With the litigious climate we currently live in I can't imagine the family of a convenience store clerk wouldn't be able to pull some coin from the New Times coffers with irresponsible statements like the one King opened this silly story with.

Great journalism, asshole.

Walter Concrete
Walter Concrete

You don't always have to back the system.   Set the clerk free and jail the thief.   That's the right thing to do.   The good little sheep however are programmed to repeat what they are taught on TV.

Victor Sanchez
Victor Sanchez

You must be a republican.....lol bastard

Sick of scum
Sick of scum

You must be another fool dumocrat you should just call yourself dirty sanchez

RonaldMcDonald69
RonaldMcDonald69

Well, this is a bit extreme. We weren't allowed to chase, let alone fight with, someone on a "beer run" when I worked in a convenience store. Nor were we allowed to bring or use weapons.

That being said, your wording of the article is a bit absurd. You state Scott LaFonte "only brought a knife when he attempted to steal a 12 pack of beer.""Only brought a knife" implies that he knew that the clerk had a gun before hand. You are also stating that he intended to commit armed robbery for a mere 12 pack of beer.

Do you see the problem with that? No? You wouldn't have reported this if he had simply stabbed the clerk over a 12 pack. Case closed.

He then confronted the clerk - the clerk with a gun in his hand. Who's the idiot here? LaFonte obviously has some kind of mental malfunction. He also displayed a proclivity for violence, which leads me to believe that the case of lead poisoning he received was justified.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"The two men confronted each other at the east end of the store's property, and Lewis shot LaFonte "several times.""

Whatever that means. It could mean that the clerk yelled "Hey you," the thief turned around, and the clerk opened fire.

anonymous
anonymous

Yes, that may have been the case and the clerk didn't want the criminal to get away. I doubt the criminal would stop and be arrested by citizens arrest, in all odds he would take his chances that the clerk was a bad shot and keep running only to do it again another day if he got away with it. If society and law enforcement creates these idiots and can't protect us from them or are not around when these situations happen, store owners should just consider it a cost of doing business and therefore encourage the behavior to continue? That is some stinkin' thinkin'.

Mistalee
Mistalee

"store owners should just consider it a cost of doing business"

Store owners generally do, and they are wise to do so. This store was out maybe twenty bucks, tops. If they end up getting hit with a wrongful death suit, how much are they out? If this minimum wage Dirty Harry wannabe got himself injured or killed with his antics, how much would the store be out? The reality of it is, this store clerk made a real dick move, even from the the perspective of his employer.

Triple-6 Gun Mane
Triple-6 Gun Mane

Albeit the beer thief clearly committed a crime. Yet, the clerk also committed a crime by following the suspect and started shooting him. Self defense in this case is absurd. Both are gulty.

Jenna
Jenna

Yes, the beer thief committed a crime. The store clerk used the crime as an excuse to attempt to kill someone. It is the job of a court, judge, and jury to determine what someone's punishment should be for stealing a 12 pack of beer. Death would certainly not be the punishment for such a minor crime. The store clerk suffers from severe ignorance.

Norman N Hendrickson
Norman N Hendrickson

I say screw it.  Thugs and low-lifes have been too predatory for too many years.  Give the store clerk a fine for littering, and let that be it.  It will send a message to idiots like the punk thief.

anonymous
anonymous

I doubt the store clerk was sitting around waiting for a criminal to rob his store just so he could pursue his deep seeded need to commit murder. That is pure balderdash. As I have point out before unless you have been in such a situation you don't realize that by just reacting to instinct and future survival one in this position may run outside and shoot at the perp otherwise in all likelyhood he will get away and do it again and again. Now if you are a clerk and you get threatened over and over again this is going to start heaping layer upon layer of ptsd and fear on them, and your only thought is that you want it to stop, and after the police have proven they can't or won't do anything esp in poorer neighborhoods, it would only be pure reaction to chase and shoot the criminal. The clerk shouldn't be punished for a chain of events that the criminal started and that laws obviously do not deter and the police don't have the manpower to do anything about it. In a lawless society which some neighborhoods in phx resemble quite closely, it is necessary to take the law into ones hands and I can't blame a victim becoming so overtaken by fear and trauma that they might unload a whole clip into someone that robbed them. Ihave had enough of being taken advantage of by criminals and a police force that doesn't or can't do its job.

Hock
Hock

Shoot a guy for smokes and beer?  What a tool.

anonymous
anonymous

So if you owned a store, you would just let them walk out with free beer and smokes any time they desired? Ridiculous as your business would be out of business in a short time. I have seen these robberies take place and the store was next to an apartment complex and even though the store owner had my help... he watched the store while I ran after the perps, the lost me in the huge apartment complex so the law agaisnt these acts is obviously not a deterrant but knowing they will be shot definitely will. If a criminal comes in your house and threatens you, your wife, sister, son or daughter with a knife to their throat, you think you will just let them run off and escape before the police show up? You wouldn't shoot to stop them esp. Considering the trauma your loved one wil relive again and again through nightmares and the post traumatic stress syndrome that situations like this cause. I have been involved with the criminal world in my youth and laws do not scare them and with many crazy kids even a store owner having a gun doesn't scare them but if a store gets a rep as one that will get you shot you can be sure they try somewhere else first. The other thing I find hilarious is those that think the clerk should be prosecuted for acting after being traumatically threatened probably either have sons/daughters that commit such crimes or you have enough money not to live in places or can afford security so that you are never caught in such situations. But try living on the south side of phx where the police response time sucks, where kids hanging out doing nothing illegal and businesses get hassled more by cops and the atf than the gangs causing all the real problems do. If you haven't lived in places where taking the law into your own hands is necessary, or haven't been assaulted, kidnapped, threatened more than once than you should shut the hell up because you don't know anthing about the real world some of us have to deal with on a daily basis.

Goodjob
Goodjob

Then give every bum crack head your hard earned money, your a fool and a tool

teknik1200
teknik1200

um, so the perp left and then the  clerk chased the perp down and shot him?

that falls outside of self defense doesn't it?

Seedy Ward
Seedy Ward

I'd think that wouldn't be self-defense.

Where I grew up they had a fleeing felon rule that basically meant that anyone who ran from a cop could legally be shot since fleeing from a cop was a felony. That was only for cops, though, iirc. Ordinary people had to abide by a different set of rules.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

The fleeing felon rule for law enforcement went away in the early 1970s. Since that time the rule of thumb is the perception that a person is in danger of being injured or killed before a police officer can use deadly force.

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